It is time for Parliament to be made accountable


pairingWe live in society that feels like a strange mix of strongly defined processes and protocols which can at times prevent ordinary people from making the most of their time or resources and at the other end of the spectrum, poorly structured historical practices that make no sense, and yet are retained because the people involved are in charge of what changes are made. There are processes and protocols that hold ordinary people back from being able to contribute to the running of our nation or even their local government arrangements unless they join a political party and work their way up the ladder of power, and similar barriers for people who live in communities where churches or other places of worship are located, yet whose freedom to ask question relating to ceremonies such as weddings or burial policies can at times seems very limited. At the other end of the spectrum as we have heard this week, there are Bishops whose freedom and influence within the Church of England to retain power and authority years after their evil and sinful practices have been known about, and whose ability to persuade Royalty to grant them accommodation is mind boggling. In the case of Parliament, last Monday 23rd July MPs debated the issue of vote pairing and the behaviour of the Conservative Chief Whip who persuaded an ex-Minister to break the rules during an important debate and vote in a way that improved the prospects of the Government getting its own way. It is clear from the many contributions from the Conservative Party that they all think he is a great bloke and although the rules were broken, because they are only broken occasionally that changing the rules seems counter to their culture. As some contributions made clear, the people who get to decide these rules are MPs and the Government and so they have no reason to change such matters because their behaviour only matters to them. The rest of society need not bother its sweet head over such matters. After all they believe that their accountability to us comes along about every 5 years and we are not qualified to understand what goes on the rest of the time. Thankfully at least two MPs made statements that make it clear that change is not just a good idea, it is vital. Sadly their contributions were lost in a sea of nice words spoken about the lovely Chief Whip and so it seem inevitable that change will not happen unless people are prepared to speak up and demand a more transparent set of rules and processes.  It seems sensible when MPs are not able to attend a Parliamentary debate, that their absence is noted on the system that records votes and if they wish to vote, that their vote is also recorded. In the same way if they choose not to vote or to abstain, that this is recorded. These people are well paid to work on behalf of their constituents and just like any other worker, their lack of attendance should be understood by the people they work for. Whether it is because of a pregnancy or indeed as Iain Duncan Smith reported the funeral of a close member of the family it is perfectly reasonable that they are able to vote from a distance.

 

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Charities, Church Teaching, Parliament and Democracy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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